R' Nechemiah of Dubrovna, the son of R' Avraham Beirach, was
recognized by those who knew him as a great scholar, yet he lived
in obscurity (and remains relatively unknown today). To a rabbi
who once shared a train compartment with R' Nechemiah and, after
talking with him for several hours, expressed surprise that he
had not previously heard of R' Nechemiah, the latter related the
A peddler of books used to travel from town to town
selling his wares. Once, on a particularly hot day, he
arrived in a certain town and was invited to refresh
himself in the rabbi's house.
The peddler was awed by the rabbi's immense library, and
he said to the rabbi with great emotion, "Do you realize
how much money you could make by selling these books?!
What are you waiting for?"
The rabbi replied, "I am shocked by your question. Is my
library for sale?"
Although R' Nechemiah never held a formal rabbinic position, he
was asked many halachic questions and his answers to these are
published in Divrei Nechemiah. In addition, his glosses to the
Talmud are published in the standard Vilna edition (the edition
in common use today).
In his second marriage, R' Nechemiah was the son-in-law of
R' Chaim Avraham, son of R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of
Chabad chassidism). (Source: Gedolei Hadorot 606)